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A teenage boy sits in class, trying to do his work. We watch as one, then another, then several of his peers begin to throw paper wads at him, snickering all the while. Then one raises the ante and flings an ink pen, which strikes the boy on the cheek, drawing blood. The teacher seems to know what's going on but does nothing to stop it. Just then the bell rings, signaling the end of class and the students spill outside onto the playground. But rather than ending the cruel pranks, recess only gives his tormentors renewed vigor, and a gang of them begin to chase the boy. Caught, he's knocked to the ground, where several of the thugs begin to kick and beat him. He struggles valiantly, but to no avail, as two of them pin him down. We see teachers and other students looking on, many with cell phones out, snapping pictures of the spectacle. One boy is moved to tears by the atrocity, but apparently his feelings do not run deeply enough to help his fellow classmate. The torture continues, and...Written by
The current l'infant terrible of cinema strikes back one more time. He already showed his stripes in great works such as "I Killed My Mother" and "Tom at the Farm", proving to be one of the greatest filmmakers in modern film history and this clip joins his outstanding resume. I'm talking about Xavier Dolan and the clip in question is "Indochine: College Boy", a true work of art.
In this video, a promo for French rock band Indochine, Dolan presents the story of a teenage boy (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) bullied by his peers, going from apparently innocent paper balls thrown at him to more violent and painful attacks, concluding with his crucifixion. The greatness of the video comes from Dolan's choices whether the stylistic ones, the visual ones or the scenario, everything to make the film unique and appealing: filmed in black-and-white, the 1:1 aspect ratio famously used by the director in "Mommy" (and the same leading actor to make it more interesting), his characteristic slow motion sequences and some intriguing story elements, the one that deserves mentions involves the witnesses. While the boy's tragedy develops it's interesting to note all the kids and some adults around him, all of them blindfolded, some of them taking pictures with their phones, or crying but unmoved to do something. No one saw it, no one listened yet they were all there.
Let's go back to the 1:1, as described by Dolan in his other film as a way to portray the amplification of the characters' emotions, though in that movie for a brief time the images were widened. He's right with such choice. Here, Pilon's hopelessness and despair are perfectly conveyed to us as he goes through strange ordeals (minor instants of happiness and joy), his face tells it all. In the background the somber soundtrack, not bad I must say, a great match for the video.
A great breath of fresh air in terms of video clips and one that seems to take inspiration in the works of Bresson and Fassbinder with their cinema of cruelty, a great way to shock viewers and make something truly meaningful out of it. That's art and there's plenty of life in it. 10/10
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